Personnel: Gil Scott-Heron (spoken vocals); David Barnes (vocals, percussion); Eddie Knowles, Charlie Saunders (congas).
Includes liner notes by Nat Hentoff and Gil Scott-Heron.
All of his more recent problems with the law aside, Gil Scott-Heron's recordings are undisputed for their place in the evolution of black music in America. In 1970, at the age of 21, the nascent poet and novelist Scott-Heron began his recording career with SMALL TALK AT 125th AND LENOX--a collection of his poetry set to percussion and vocal accompaniment from Eddie Knowles, Charlie Saunders, and David Barnes. Reflecting the frustration of Black America at the close of the 1960s, SMALL TALK AT 125TH AND LENOX is a powerful picture of this nation at a singular time and place. Scott-Heron's verse is relentless and uncompromising and his voice is infused with passion and anger, demanding to be heard. The incendiary subject matter and critical tone of tracks like "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" and "Enough" foreshadow the politics of future hip-hop acts like Public Enemy and X-Clan. While the albums that followed are made up of more conventionally structured songs, SMALL TALK is primarily spoken word, with Scott-Heron and company working piano-driven grooves on just three tracks--"The Vulture," "Who'll Pay Reparations on My Soul?" and "Everyday."